Hiding behind a whale

So as all good dating stories begin, I met this guy. Well, nearly met this guy. To be more precise, sort of met him online. As much as you can without knowing whom you are meeting.

Motivated to be proactive and scan through hundreds of online profiles, the first one that really caught my eye was a scientist. He’s mid-40s, had some appropriately weird / cool interests (depending which side of the fence you sit on), and was funny, at least to me anyway. He wrote a sassy and clever introductory email, and I have to say I was impressed.

There were two hesitations though which I wanted to clear up.

The first was that he had left the box blank as to whether he wanted (more) kids. He reassured me that he “would like to have a child with the right woman, why not?”. This really annoys me.  Who wants to have children with the wrong person? I especially hate the “Why not?!” as if the thought just occurred to him that it might be a fun thing to do. Like ordering dessert.  “Why not?”

The second vexing issue was that his profile photo was of a whale.  It was a lovely whale, don’t get me wrong. Turns out shy Dr. Scientist dude was hesitant to post a photo for fear of being identified by his university students, who might then spread malicious rumours about his quest for love. Which is kinda fine…. except… we all take the risk that we will be “found” online. We’ve all been matched with people we know in real life, recognised that guy from the salsa class; that guy you did a gig with who was recently separated and devastated. It’s a little embarrassing. It happens. Chances are that his university students will be browsing for 20 year olds instead of middle aged men anyway.

Dr. Scientist’s cunning solution was for me to write an email to his private email, so he could in return send me the photo. Which means that he then has my personal email, and can instantly find out a whole lot about me. Yes, I could create a fake email address, but I don’t like being fake. If he sent me his best looking mug shot and I wasn’t into it, I would feel like a shallow biatch and it could get really awkward. The whale photo was becoming a Thing.

What Dr. Scientist hadn’t considered was that the tech-savvy Purple Frock could grab his Christian name from his personal email and the snippets gleaned through his profile to find him and his photo in thirty seconds flat.

As I suspected, I didn’t like what I saw. At all. Go on, say I’m superficial. I just couldn’t do it. I know that attraction can grow and develop over time, that beauty is on the inside, all of that. Super hot men become unappealing to me if they’re arrogant, conversely guys who are hardly pinup material become gorgeous through their kindness or spirit. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and someone who might be irresistible to me is not at all to you.

But, internet dating is all about that vital first impression. If one guy doesn’t catch your eye, there are thousands more just waiting for you to click through on the next page.  I might argue that it’s the same in real life – if I’m at a bar, I don’t seek out a guy who is unappealing to me in just in case he was lovely and interesting. There has to be a physical attraction as well (Or fisical, as I’ve been reading all too often lately). Unfortunately, in the world of online dating there isn’t the opportunity to gradually get to know someone over coffee breaks at work over a period of time;  judgements are instant.

So the Dr. Scientist will remain unmet, and it felt like the right thing to do for now. He’s since taken his profile down, despairing of online dating… he might have been better off being honest, and attaching his photo.

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